Madibaz travel the long road
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: The Nelson Mandela Bay University Madibaz face an uphill battle in this year's Varsity Cup as they will not have any home fixtures. Tauriq Ebrahim reports.
The Madibaz' stadium is currently undergoing much-needed renovations and has thus prompted tournament organisers to schedule all their to be played away from home. Head coach David Maidza is a little apprehensive as to how the players would handle being on the road every week.
"I'm not sure how it will work out. We need to ensure that we are as tight a group as possible and every squad member will have to work towards making the team better.
"There is no other way for us but to take the competition week by week and game by game in order to achieve the goals we have set ourselves. It was going to be tough even if we had home games, but we understand the challenge that is ahead of us and we have to take every opportunity to participate in this great concept," Maidza told rugby365.com.
Maidza believes that his squad have learnt valuable lessons from the 2016 edition of the competition when his relatively young side finished seventh - picking up a solitary victory.
"As a whole, it was a good lesson for the guys we brought in for their first year. Last year's format wasn't the best, especially for a young side like ours but at the same time, we have to make sure that we are building the youngsters and that they grasp the concept of the game.
"It was a good learning curve for them and it's about developing them to understand the game better and making sure they achieve their goals of wanting to get to the top level with the basic fundamentals embedded in them.
"On the whole, I believe that we are on the right track and have students athletes in our ranks who are here for the long term. So it's a good space for us to build a squad that continues to work together for years to come. But while we are building, we have to put in good performances that will hopefully turn into good results.
"We have to make sure that we are contenders and not just participants in this competition," he added.
By Tauriq Ebrahim